How to Drive Employee Engagement in a Virtual Environment

employee engagement

Some executives and managers might dismiss remote work as just another modern trend. This is a big mistake. After reviewing the latest trends and hearing about Omicron COVID-19 variant, the virtual work environment is here to stay and its paramount to pay attention to employee engagement. Check out the following stats:

• A Global Workplace Analytics study found that a typical business will annually save around $11,000 per person by taking advantage of remote work opportunities.
• Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report confirmed that 43% of workers in the United States are working remotely most of the time.
• A Zapier Remote Work Report found that 95% of workers in the United States prefer working remotely, with 74% willing to quit their present job role if remote work was available elsewhere. In addition, 31% want to work remotely, but their company doesn’t allow it. This further increases the risk of employee turnover, which is costly.
• The Airtasker survey reported that remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than the traditional on-site worker, which leads to three additional weeks of work per year.
• 83% of workers say that a remote work opportunity would make them feel happier at their job.
• 77% of remote workers say that they’re more productive when working from home.
• Around 62% of employees between the ages of 22 and 65 say that they work remotely at least occasionally.
• If given the opportunity, nearly 99% of all employees would choose to work from home some of the time.

The information above makes it crystal clear is that remote work is not going away. As a matter of fact, it is a necessity for business success. As a result, the question of how to engage remote employees keeps rising.

Gallup reported that 70% of employee engagement is a direct result of great leadership. This shows that managers and executives are the direct cause of either motivation and engagement or frustration and disengagement in the workplace. Therefore, if you’re really interested in keeping remote employees engaged and productive, you need to come at it from all angles and regularly. Engagement is not a one-time task to check off your to-do list. If you treat it as such, your employees will quickly be looking for the exit. The rest of this article goes into three ideas on how to best drive employee engagement.

1. Use the Right Employee Engagement Tools

If your team isn’t using the right tools to communicate and collaborate effectively, you’re already ten steps behind. The market has wide variety of chat and collaboration tools to choose from so managing a robust, productive remote team is a much easier task to take on.

“If you, the manager, don’t create good, open communication channels, the remote worker will feel, well, ‘remote’ and forgotten,” said Keith Ferrazzi of Ferrazzi Greenlight. Video calls with Teams, Zoom, or Slack are important for team meetings. Tools like Slack, Asana, or can help with project management. But for real communication with your remote team, you need an employee engagement tool. Intellective’s Employee Experience Pack allows your organization to drive employee engagement and efficiency by:

• Allowing employees to express themselves in a safe, secure manner
• Give and receive kudos
• Navigating the knowledge base or the catalog by providing categories that resonate with employees and matches their mental model of how the information should be structured.
• Get all the information they need to do their jobs in one location without hunting all over the place to find what they need
• Delivering a customized employee engagement experience that adjusts what they see based on their preferences and behaviors

2. Internal Communication is Essential

The number one lesson on how to engage remote employees starts and ends with internal communication. You must create an effective communication strategy so you can reach every employee. For example:

• Hold weekly formal “check-ins”
• Establish performance goals for the week, month, quarter, and year
• Set clear expectations and requirements for tasks
• Group channels should be created for each situation such as one-to-one chats, team meetings, video calls, or open forums for sharing of feedback and ideas
• Encourage two-way communication – get feedback on projects, marketing strategy, customer satisfaction, and more

3. Ask for Feedback

“CultureIQ reported that 86% of employees felt senior management listened to them in a strong cultural environment, compared to 70% without a great company culture.”

This statistic above is proof enough on why you must listen to your employees and make sure that their voices are heard every step of the way. Ask them for feedback on anything and everything, such as how to meet company goals, improving customer satisfaction, new training ideas, fun activities to do as a team, and streamlining business processes. Also, don’t just listen to what they say…implement the ideas that make sense as employees are going to be reluctant to share if none of their ideas get implemented.

And whatever you do, don’t wait for the end-of-year review to provide, and solicit feedback. Rather, actively, and regularly seek your employees’ feedback and suggestions.

Communication is a two-way street. Do you want to reach your employees? They want to reach you too. Positive company culture will encourage your employees to freely share their feedback, thoughts, and ideas. Acknowledge what they say so they know they are heard and valued. This is key when looking at keeping remote employees engaged.